It’s a bit of a cliché—the notion that when cold weather arrives, we automatically turn to hearty stews and game foods, pairing them exclusively with big, bold Barolos, muscular Rhône reds, powerhouse zinfandels, and the like. In reality—around my dinner table at least—we consume just as much pink wine in winter as we do in summer. Yes, rosé wines are our favorite year-round sippers.
Versatility is often the key when pairing wine with food, and it’s hard to think of a wine more versatile than rosé. It’s a wine that bridges the red/white divide—a red wine that drinks like a white wine, with a little of the best of both worlds.
Brief contact from purple grape skins gives rosé wine its pinkish color, as well as very subtle, if any, tannins. That lack of tannin makes rosé an easy-drinking style of wine that most people associate with whites. However, a well-made rosé can be bold and beautiful, simultaneously. And rosé wines pair nicely with everything from shrimp and chicken dishes to pork, salmon, veggie fare, and lighter stews and soups. I love rosé with bouillabaisse, but also with chile con carne. We certainly crack open many more rosé bottles than “super Tuscans,” regardless of the season.
Ted’s Rosé Faves
The folks at Conundrum recently started producing a rosé that’s lovely, bright, and fresh. It’s made from a unique grape variety called valdigué ($23).
Since the 1940s, the Guigal family of France has been making serious rosé wines. E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rosé ($17) is a fruity grenache/Cinsault/Syrah blend with good structure and unusual elegance for a rosé.
Called a “one-night wine” due to its easy drinkability, Li Veli Primerose Rosato ($13) from Italy’s Puglia region is pale salmon in color with ripe strawberry and plum flavors. Its fresh acidity makes this rosé an excellent food partner.
Never heard of Yolo County, California? Well, Matthiasson Rosé ($20) might just put it on the map. A small amount of sauvignon blanc—unusual in rosé—lends a citrus edge to this spectacular pink wine. Try it with your favorite rabbit dish.
Main Street’s Resident Vintners
Though the grapes used for the Bordeaux, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and blends produced by Cognition Winery come from Napa and Sonoma, the fruit’s full potential is nurtured and unleashed right here in Park City. Sample them for yourself at Cognition Mercantile. (255 Main St, Ste B, 435.649.6289, open Mon through Sat, 1–5 p.m.)
The tagline, “the official wine of après,” the tasting room’s location near the base of Park City Mountain’s Town Lift, and bottles with names like Snowbunny Syrah and Old Town Outlaw personify the chill vibe and easy-drinking wines you’ll find at Old Town Cellars. (890 Main St, 435.649.3759, open Mon through Sat, noon–10 p.m.)